The Platform


Abdulsalam Ibrahim, a top graduate in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, credits his success to hard work and divine will and advises students to stay healthy and consistent.

With 10 awards and a grade point average of 4.88, Abdulsalam Ibrahim recently emerged as the best-graduating student with a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. In this interview following his graduation ceremony, Abdulsalam discusses his academic journey and the secrets behind his success.

Please introduce yourself.

I hail from Zungeru in Niger State. I’m the fifth child in a family of six. I completed my primary and secondary education in Minna before proceeding to the School of Matriculation Studies at UDUS. Subsequently, I was accepted into the Pharmacy program at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.

Abdulsalam Ibrahim

With a grade point average of 4.88, you emerged as the best-graduating student in your program. How did you achieve this?

Alhamdulillah for Allah’s blessings upon me. Emerging as the best-graduating student was only possible because it was Allah’s will. Many factors contributed to this achievement, many of which were beyond my control. It wasn’t merely hard work or consistency, as many of my classmates were equally diligent. In summary, always pray to Almighty Allah, do your best in a healthy manner, and leave the rest. What Allah wishes for you will prevail, whether you like it or not.

Why did you choose to study Pharmaceutical Sciences?

I didn’t initially choose Pharmaceutical Sciences; I believe Allah chose it for me. After completing my studies at the School of Matriculation Studies, I was admitted to study Medicine and Surgery. However, due to some issues between the university and JAMB, some of our admissions were changed to other courses. It was a bitter experience because I wanted to study Medicine. However, after attending lectures on the history and ethics of pharmacy, I developed an interest in the profession. The rest is history.

Abdulsalam Ibrahim

Did you know you were going to graduate at the top of your class?

Not until it was close to graduation. While I always had one of the best grades in my freshmen class, the competition was fierce with many hardworking, consistent, and intelligent scholars. The environment was encouraging, as everyone was contributing, and there was always much to learn.

What was your reading schedule like?

I didn’t have a specific reading schedule. Pharmacy is overwhelming, with long hours of lectures and practicals, leaving little time for study. You have to keep studying even when tired. Passing a course with a 50% pass mark is not for the lazy, and some courses require a minimum of 60%. My reading schedule depended on the time I had at any given moment, except for my 100 level days when there was ample time to study during the day and sleep at night.

Which area of study did you find the most interesting?

Clinical Pharmacy (therapeutics) and Pharmaceutical Microbiology.

What awards did you receive?

Some of the awards I received include:

Best Graduating Student
Best Graduating Student in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice
Best Graduating Student from Niger State
Centre for Advanced Medical Research and Training (CAMRET) Best Graduating Student, which included a cash award
Cash award from Bioraj Pharmaceuticals for the Best Graduating Student

Abdulsalam Ibrahim

Did you engage in extracurricular activities or take up leadership roles during your time at the university?

Yes, I did. I served as the Assistant Secretary General of the Pharmaceutical Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (PMSSN). I was one of the Imams at the Masjid in Amanawa hostel for two sessions. I also served as Deputy Ameer of the Association of Muslim Health Students (AHMS), Organizing Secretary of the NANISS Health wing (National Association of Niger State Students), and Secretary General of PANISS (Pharmaceutical Association of Niger State Students). Eventually, I became the President of PANISS.

What was your least favorite moment?

My best moment was at the 200 level when I passed all my courses with distinction. My lowest moment was at the 300 level.

What are your future aspirations?

I aspire to become a specialist in Cardiovascular Therapeutics or Psychiatry. This will enable me to give back to society in a community or hospital setting. I would also like to be a researcher and teacher in clinical pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Microbiology.

What advice would you give to future students?

Avoid toxic situations, know your limits, and maintain your physical and mental well-being. In academic settings, the brain does the work, and you can achieve a lot in little time with a healthy lifestyle. Start strong and remain consistent throughout your studies. Your academic performance is cumulative from the 100 level. Start reading early to grasp concepts efficiently, allowing for repetitive study. Proper understanding always saves the day. Finally, always pray to Allah in whatever you do. Eat well, sleep well, work hard, and trust in Allah.

Mutalib Jibril is a third-year Pharmacy student at Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, Nigeria. He's an active member of the campus journalism community, contributing to the News Digest Press at UDUS as both a writer and columnist. Mutalib pens articles under the banner of 'Health Stack,' focusing on various health-related topics. Many of his pieces have been featured in the Nigerian Tribune.